Many people create businesses every day, but only a few have inspiring stories about why their business idea came to be. Goodness's inspiring business story came from an act of gift-giving and reciprocation of love, and now her business grosses millions of naira monthly, but that's far from what makes her business story interesting. Goodness Adeosun is still in medical school finishing up her education, and she already has several business awards. Beyond that fantastic portfolio, she is also somewhat of a Twitter influencer with over 38,000 followers!.
We had a chat with Goodness and she gave us insight into how she runs her successful shoe business, Gudie Designs, alongside pursuing a medical degree at the University of Ibadan.
What inspired you to make your shoe brand?
The business idea was set in motion in 2016 when I really wanted to gift some cousins homecoming for the first time in years; I had really wanted to reciprocate all the gifts they gave me. After researching different gift ideas, I finally settled on slippers–not just any kind, but crocheted gladiator slippers handmade by me. Unfortunately, the first trial wasn't the best, so I reached out to a local shoemaker for help, and he guided me on what materials to buy and how to go about it. I think I spent only about 1000 on those materials at the time.
Then I made 5 sandals for myself to wear in my first year of uni, and many people liked them; many of them started sending in requests to make shoes for them. After that, the business started booming, and I eventually began selling first through Facebook.
When did your business officially launch?
Gudie Designs officially launched in 2019. At this time, I had gotten a brand logo made for me. In addition, I had worked on a brand packaging style and the debate about whether I wanted to use nylons or paper bags or cartons.
As a small business like yourself, what does it take to run a profitable in Nigeria?
It's all about offering the right service to the right people and the value worth paying for. Make sure to create a steady business. Create something unique, different and sustainable; with my business, I had started with crocheting, but now it has evolved to making shoes and boots–meaning I found my balance. Another thing that I would say helped my business's profitability is leveraging client retention and finding the right people to appreciate my work well.
How do you balance medical school with running a business?
Honestly, I always say that balance is a myth, It cannot be 50-50; for one to thrive, the other will suffer–If medical school becomes a priority, then my business will suffer. But honestly, I haven't been able to attain a precise balance; all I have just done is to make sure I'm moving forward and progressing.
Even though medical school is still very demanding, so is running a business as an entrepreneur.
What does your ideal work day look like?
My day starts at 6 am; I'm an early bird–I eat, pray and prep for school. Then at 8 am, I am at school doing all my school runs, standing for 5-6 hours–but it's all for the degree, so it's worth it. By noon, I'm out of school, so it's time to go to my workshop. Although I have staff that work for me–I still go in to get some work done. And time usually ranges from noon to about 8 pm. Then, there are some days when I take my work home and proceed to work overnight–sometimes to 3 am.
What are some challenges you face with running Gudie designs, your shoe brand?
The cost of making the shoes themselves; the way it is with purchasing leather, is very tricking–prices change, sourcing for the best quality and all that, but the sad part is when you go out of your way to buy the best quality materials to make shoes, and they don't sell on time. So that cost is now on me to borne.
What are your favourite things about running your business?
The learning phase. Every aspect of it teaches me something new, it could be how to relate with my staff better, because I am somewhat of a perfectionist and I need them to work with them amount of effort as me.
What are some annoying things customers do?
Giving the wrong shoe sizes. Because there are different shoe sizes for different countries–like EU size is different, China sizing is different (their sizes tend to be smaller). This is annoying because some of these materials come from China it can be very stressful to correct the error.
What are some lessons you have learned as a business owner?
I have learned to be very patient with people–Both staff and customers. Because if you don't, you could end up creating a disaster everywhere.
What does success mean to you as a business owner?
Success to me is effortless, to be joyful and happy—it has nothing to do with how much money I have. But I should also add that success is growing Gudie Designs into a global brand–in the next few years.
What are business tips you wished you knew before starting your business?
Whoa, that list is long. First, I wish I knew enough about having a business structure–creating a business plan. Second, I wish I knew enough about financing a business and generating proper capital–when I started, it was supposed to be fun and vibes. Finally, I wish I had a business mentor before I started.
I wish I had not neglected some important prospects, such as creating a website, trading marking my business and registering it.
You have 39,000 followers on Twitter; how has that helped you grow your business?
Yes, Twitter has helped my business a lot, and the best part is that I don't always have to be online. My first tweet about my business was hit, it went viral, and I sold over 70 shoes because of it.
"Twitter has helped me make millions from my business."
The best part about Twitter is that someone else has to retweet or like your post, and you will make it to your target market's timeline
Check out their official website
Scale With Kippa is a weekly series where we discuss the peculiarities of running and scaling businesses in Nigeria. This month’s episodes focus on the lives of small scale roadside in different industries who are growing year on year using all available resources.